Noise bath

“All noise is waste. So, cultivate quietness in your speech, in your thoughts, in your emotions. Speak habitually low. Wait for attention and then you low words will be charged with dynamite.” Elbert Hubbard

I was born in a large city and I have spent most of my life in such an environment. This lifestyle conditions you to the din inherent to any large metropolis. After a while it becomes part of your habitat and you don’t notice it anymore.

If you leave the city and move to suburbia though, you will be pleasantly surprised. You won’t be subjected to this incessant noise and you won’t feel so jumpy anymore. You will get accustomed to this more relaxed context and be thankful for it.

Once in a while though, you will crave the excitement of city life. You will jump in your car and motor to San Francisco for a little look-see of your old neighborhood.
And this is what happened a few days ago. I went back to the scene of my dissolute youth to see what was going on.

The Golden Gate Recreation Area, particularly Crissy Field (a former US Army airfield) is particularly popular. On a sunny day it is awash with walkers, joggers, dog walkers, cyclists and bipeds of every persuasion.
One of the best things the US National Park Service ever did.

In the Marina district,

I was set upon by the noise pollution level emanating from Lombard street. Incredibly, nobody but me seemed perturbed. This goes to show that you can get accustomed to anything, including very unhealthy living conditions.

The residential area looked fairly unchanged, but its commercial streets were buzzing with excitement. Chestnut and Fillmore streets particularly, looked livelier than ever and sidewalk cafes have sprouted everywhere. Doing my heart good, I noticed that dogs are finally welcome in many eateries. The old American fear of gems has slightly abetted and animal discrimination is slowly ebbing.

I must say that I have personally cavorted with cats and dogs all my life without ever feeling any ill effect. I couldn’t say the same thing about human beings.

Parking in the city has become utterly impossible. Unless you are unbelievably lucky, you won’t find a free parking meter anywhere. And if you find one, you have to be extremely quick or somebody with snatch it before you.
The only plus is that you don’t need small change anymore. A credit card will do anytime.

We lunched outdoors at the ever-popular Balboa Café. You can judge its popularity by the amount of time you have to wait for your dishes. We waited a good 20 minutes. I did not mind waiting too much because of the unending flow of pretty girls walking by. A perk of living in a large city.
The food was good. Good, and pricey.

Once in a while, you need to get out of the rut and have a “cure of Jouvence” (rejuvenating experience) to feel alive. A brief, noisy crowd bath might do the trick.

Alain

PS: Feel free to download any of my pictures, but when posting any of them on social media, please include photo credit (Photos by Alain Efron). Thank you. 

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